BRLP: Did you from a young age sense that you were able to influence those around you to act or did that develop later?
Malema: I’ve always worked with comrades as a collective and every step of the way we’re planning together. When we decided who must attack this way or that way we would all speak collectively and at the end you wouldn’t even remember who said what – you feel like this is your contribution and you have to take up that task.
My primary school was next to the high school, and there we would plan the strikes of that high school when we were in primary school and even when we graduated into the high school we went in with an attitude. So when we went there that first year we planned the strikes in that school, write placards, and distribute leaflets everywhere else for what is going to happen. Then the same thing at high school, when I was in high school I used to sit and plan the strikes of tertiary institutions actively, because then I was in the provincial leadership of COSAS and we had what we called Progressive Youth Alliance which was SOSCO, a student organization at tertiary level. In high school I was then elected class representative, SRC and from then I became the chairperson of COSAS of the local branch and from then it all happened. It’s always been there in the movement and we’ve always led from the front.
BRLP: Being such a political animal as you are, it’s part of your blood, your genes, everything – now people speak of you as being in a so-called “political wilderness” – one can assume that it must be very difficult for you.
Malema: I am not in a political wilderness. I remain a political animal and political activist – I’m part of every activity that takes place here in South Africa, whether I am there or not my name will be there because others will want to push the ideas we’ve been pushing – so we’re part of the political developments in this country, we’re part of its discourse – you don’t need a position to be a political activist. People confuse being in a position with being a political activist – it’s not that. I’m out of position, out of the ANC in terms of a membership card but I am part of the ANC family. I’m an ANC supporter and I try to influence what directions the ANC takes through those who give me an opportunity to speak to them about the African National Congress. The ANC is my home. I’m still very close to the leadership. I still make my inputs be known and when they continue to take wrong decisions I will call them and express my view on how those decisions are wrong. I may be removed from the position, but materially, emotionally, nothing has changed.
BRLP: That’s what is interesting – the fact that you’re so called “in the political wilderness” – but I don’t get the impression that you are. Even from a distance.
Malema: No, you go into a political wilderness if you decide to go into a political wilderness and you call yourself a political animal, then you are wrong because it means you loved the positions and when they take position away from you, you become sickly or you behave like some part of you has been taken away. As I said earlier, I never thought I would be where I am and I’ve never had those ambitions and even if you take them away, actually, you are just reducing my busyness – I am no longer busy in terms of the scheduling that comes with the position, but other than that I’ve got very strong political views and I express them to those who care to listen.
BRLP: How do you handle the attention and the stress?
Malema: The stress part of it I do not mind because when you assume a battle internally and even externally, it does not become a personal battle – it’s a battle for everybody who supports the cause. It will be stressful if we take that personally. It’s about 5000 young people who gather at our conference and say this is what we must go do. And those 5000 young people were sent by almost 600 000 other young people in the country to come and give you that mandate, and so you are carrying the hopes of many young South Africans – so when you lose those debates, when sometimes things are difficult, you know it’s not only you, it’s the entire membership of the organization and supporters of the organization. The other thing that helps us is that we grew up under the leadership and we saw how the leaders before us handled decisions. These leaders were able to soldier on. President Mandela, who ordinarily could have given up in prison, soldiered on for 27 years so why should you behave like a cry-baby and you think there is something special happening to you? There is nothing special happening to you; it can happen to anybody who is assigned that responsibility.
BRLP: What keeps you busy now that you don’t have such a hectic schedule?
Malema: Actually the schedule has never declined – we’re getting more invites. When I got expelled I was busy with my exams now with UNISA – BA specializing in politics – so that was the immediate thing. When I was finished the Friends of the Youth League took me all over, got church invitations, community invitations and some I just turned down because I also need time to myself. I’ve been busy with my business of cattle-farming as well, so there has not been a quiet moment. This house is full of activists, almost every day.
BRLP: You seem fearless – I think that’s one of the fascinations people have with you – more than other leaders who also have mandates, who also have weight on their shoulders, in the same way you may have, but just in different capacities. Share with us your humanness – what are you fearful of?
Malema: I’m not compromised – other leaders are compromised. They’ve got skeletons in their own wardrobes. They know that taking a boast may well lead them to being exposed for what they really are, so I’ve got nothing to fear. I don’t owe anybody anything. They try and scare me and put investigations against me, put all manner of pressures against me, but then I tell them, look, I’ve never in my own conscious life took a decision to engage in a criminal activity and if you say you are investigating me about this or that let me get a day where I’ll answer those allegations and deal with them. I’m not going to be threatened that you’re being investigated and therefore you must keep quiet and go negotiate with the authorities quietly…no. I’m not that type of a person. If I have done wrong, I should take responsibility for what I’ve done wrong but I’m not going to suppress my views and my ideas on the basis that you may compromise and that if you keep quiet you run the possibility of being rescued. I strongly believe that leadership shouldn’t find itself in a compromised position because it is those things that lead to a position where they are no longer able to articulate the mandate honestly and loyally because they are scared that certain things might come out.
We were born of fearless mothers and we grew up amongst fighters who were prepared to lose everything for what they believed in and who are we? Solomon Mahlangu was sentenced to death, on the day they were going to hang him, he never pleaded, even when he saw the rope before him, even when the rope was put on his neck, he made wonderful words to his fighting people – they must continue the struggle and his blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. This is a man who has got a rope around his neck. So you don’t have a rope, you don’t run the risk of going to prison for your ideas, you are not going to be killed for your ideas, nothing is going to happen to you, but you still suffer from the fear of the unknown. Let them do what they want to do. The ideas are out there, they are being debated, and even if I’m buried tomorrow those ideas will not be buried with me. Others are even quoting those ideas without quoting the source.
BRLP: So where would you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
Malema: I want to see myself in the ANC. The ANC is my home – I’m not going anywhere. Even if I’m chased from home, I’m sitting right next to the gate of this home waiting for the day they open the gate for me to come in – I’m not going anywhere. If there is anyone who doubts that I am with the ANC I am prepared to go do a DNA blood test with that person – my blood will come black, green and gold. This is my home and I’m not going anywhere. So it doesn’t matter who says what. If I was suffering from political ambitions and obsession with leadership positions, there are a lot of dying political parties here in South Africa and I could have gone to those parties and hijacked them and took the leadership role and continued to fight for the interests of our people. But it’s not about positions, it’s about loyalty to the cause – and I’m not chased away from heaven, I’m chased away from a political organization which I love so dearly and I hope to return to it very soon. As long as I’m still alive I will continue to cherish its ideals and continue to fight for the right cause. I’m not going anywhere.
The ANC is not known for destroying comrades, and especially the youth, they are known for building the youth, so I am still waiting for a telephone call from comrade Gwede which tells me my next step because you get expelled with the hope that you will get rehabilitated but they ought to tell you how you are going to be rehabilitated. Where to from here? The organization must still tell me, the ANC doesn’t lead only its members – it leads society. I am waiting for that leadership.
BRLP: How would you describe the legacy that you want to leave – you personally?
Malema: That question for me – I don’t think it arises – I am still very young to be asked questions about legacy – I thought legacy was for old people who when they pass on, would want to be remembered – those type of things. I’m still too young to be talking about legacy. We are economic freedom fighters and we want to be remembered as economic freedom fighters, having changed the living economic conditions of all people.
BRLP: I must be honest, I struggle to see you as a 31 year old – you’re far beyond your years because of your experiences. It shouldn’t be a surprise because you’ve had a full life; you’ve been in the presence of mature, seasoned, street wise leaders in your life, so I’m not surprised.
Malema: You know, I never grew up with people of my age – I’ve always interacted with very old people, some of whom qualified to be my parents, but we became friends somehow. When you don’t handle certain things in a correct manner, by virtue of their age and experience, they take you on there and then and want to workshop you in how certain things must be done. So I guess sometimes it’s so because of the people we grew up with. Then I came to interact more with people of my age when I got elected into structures of the ANC – then we were the same age – but we’re not friends, we’re not close, we meet at meetings but then after that we go separate ways and then I retreat to these older friends. So I’ve had those interactions with them, that’s where all these things come from.
BRLP: What’s your vision for the future of South Africa?
Malema: We need an equal society, a proper well-resourced society. We don’t need an Alexandra and Sandton. We need to live equally in this country, peacefully and happy. Our society into the future can only be an equal society through economic freedom. There must be decisiveness, we are not calling for anarchy, and we are not calling for the collapse of the economy. Those who are opposed to the proposals we have put forward, let them put alternatives. People stand up there in the podium and say the Petroleum Act guarantees that minerals are in the hands of the State, but the same State is taking those minerals into the private hands through licensing and individuals don’t benefit. Let’s share the wealth of the country. Let us de-racialize the economy. We have no problem with the white man, but the white man must be prepared to share. Let’s de-racialize the economy of this country and let those who have voluntarily begin to give others – not use our democratic laws to want to perpetuate the Apartheid inequalities with arguments like I’ve got a right to private ownership, I can accumulate as much as I want –there’s nobody who can do anything about it, I’m protected by the constitution. Wait for the day those people are going to participate in an uprising, you must tell us where’s the constitution, because then you can’t stop them, not the judiciary, not even the army, not NATO – it will never stop the masses. So before we experience an uprising let there be a genuine debate on the table on how do you redistribute. We can’t have one family controlling so much you know, so much influence on the economy. I want to be sitting here one day and get a call from the Oppenheimers or these ones in Stellenbosch, they must say to us can you identify an informal settlement, we want to go there, demolish those shacks and build proper houses. If they want us to start to listen to them they must stop theorizing and take practical action – we’ve been talking for quite some time now.
BRLP: Let’s say that’s right, I see the spirit of what you’re saying but what about teaching a man or a woman to fish rather than giving them the fish? So we don’t just give free houses and grants and just give give give. One of the best things that ever happened to the Afrikaner was the taking away of ‘easy’ opportunities. Now they must go out and fend for themselves and build businesses, so there’s a positive for the Afrikaner who perhaps has had it easy, essentially. That’s the concern I have – the mentality about give it to me – it doesn’t build character – but there is a case for somehow redistributing.
Malema: How am I going to fish with an empty stomach? There is nothing wrong with you saying to me – here’s fish – but these fish, you can even get more by doing one, two, three. I am giving an example of houses in an informal settlement but in the same informal settlement we must build everything else that must take place for it to be called a residential area. You must build schools, you must be able to identify kids in those areas who have potential, take them to the best schools, and in that way you are also giving them the rod to go and fish. But those people do not have any hope. They don’t see any possibility of a bright future unless something drastic happens. An example is a township that has just turned 100 years – those rich families in Stellenbosch – in celebrating 100 years of Alexandra, they can come here and make a contribution and say we want to turn this place upside down, with 500 million contribution from those families, it’s nothing to them. Each one of them comes and pledges 100, 100, 100, put it together. Why not say they must give black people tenders, they move in here, they must demolish this place, build the best city ever in Alex as their contribution to a democratic SA with a commitment to sharing.
BRLP: Would that work on the bigger picture of teaching skills, of making sure people don’t have that entitlement mentality?
Malema: We don’t want to create a welfare state, that has never been our intention, hence we said to President Zuma when he became president, part of your legacy will be to produce well–qualified young people, can you put aside money in your own budget – you’ve got that capacity? Take 10 000 students from the country every year, to go and learn in the best countries while we are still transforming our education system here. We can’t wait for this system to be transformed; we don’t have that luxury, let’s take others out of the country to be equipped with the necessary skills, 10 000, and then bring them back. Each year 10 000 goes, then by the time you leave your office in 5 years you would have graduated not less than 50 000 young people who are now into the service of our country. Nobody cares to listen, but when we take microphones, all of us and we say skills development, we must ensure our young people have got skills, but no practical programme to say this is how we’re going to do it. The Rupert’s can do this without Zuma.
BRLP: I can march a lot of top CEO’s in here and they will tell you about the millions that they spend to uplift schools and different areas and the millions they spend to help with this and that – they’ll give a very good case of what they are doing.
Malema: No, you must ask them, go with them, you will find them having put a fence around a school. They’ve not built a school, they’ve built a fence and then put a big board – Anglo Platinum – you can’t even see the name of that school, it’s written in small letters, the only thing you can see is that emblem of Anglo Platinum. I will tell them go and show me that school. At least now Patrice Motsepe and his company are trying to build a proper road in an area, and at least Anglo in Thabazimbi try to build houses for people there. I was very happy with that. But they need to do more. More still needs to be done. And how do you get them to make that contribution? It’s by introducing radical policies. When they realize we now mean business they will come running – what must we do? Infrastructural development, both by private sector and the State, can also help to create jobs.
BRLP: People are asking how nationalization of the banks and mines will put money into the pockets of the poor.
Malema: Mines are accounting for trillions of rands here into the country. But if you look at their contribution through tax it’s not what you would expect coming out of those trillions. So what we are saying is that we need a State that is involved in mining through taking over 60% of the shares in mines, but not only in shares, it must be involved in the operations of the mines. And when those dividends are declared that’s how the state will make money – then our coffers will get more money from the dividends coming from that 60%. That 40% that remains in the hands of the private sector must still be taxed and royalties must be paid, so effectively the majority of the money will remain here with the investor not leaving with more than 20% after tax. That’s what we are talking about. And it is there in our document – we have written about it. We want our government to be involved in mining and we want our government to get money directly, not from tax, but also through dividends. It must be able to declare dividends – trillions are declared in the mining sector in this country. The question is asked who is going to pay for the 60% of the State. Why should we pay for it because in the beginning when you were mining here you have been mining for free? We can propose a radical approach and say that you must pay us from since you were mining here – the 60% from when you were mining here until today when we came in. We are not asking for more than that. You are going to pay yourself through that money that you have made when we were not involved. From now going forward, you are now sharing with us. The mines will have to pay it themselves. And then the farms that have not been mined already, if a private company comes, wants to do exploration in those areas, State is not involved – we give you a license to go check – you bring a report. If it is profitable we are going with you 60%. You go 40%. Why should we pay for that? You bring the mining machines, we will bring the mineral – we bring the land, we bring the minerals. Those things belong to us. We are meeting each other half way. It’s not like we are coming empty-handed. We are bringing minerals, you bring the machines. We mine together. And then the State is the only reliable business partner you can have anywhere in the world – to partner the State – that is the most reliable partner. Because the State if it is involved, can’t allow the money to decline when they are part of it.
BRLP: People wouldn’t trust that the government then distributes those dividends, those taxes fairly and without corruption, wisely. That may not always be a fair comment but that perception is there.
Malema: But Adriaan, you’re paying tax now. You don’t stop paying it now because you believe government won’t use your money properly.
BRLP: I can complain, but I can’t do anything about it.
Malema: Yes, that’s how a democratic government is – there will be those elements, even today when mines are not nationalized, there is corruption. Yes. Not only in construction but even in mining – how people get licenses, get bribes, all kinds of things, there’s no State involved in that – what happens there, you’d be shocked. So they mustn’t talk about corruption as if when there is no State there is no corruption – there is corruption. That’s why we are saying it must not be given to individuals. As opposed to what Zimbabweans are talking about in nationalization where you must appoint a Zimbabwean indigenous person and you must give him 51% – a business person. No, we are not talking that way, we are talking the State, it goes into the State, and we think that the State has got a proper mandate from its people to manage the assets of its people – it’s already doing that and it has not failed the people so far. But it has got too little resource, it needs additional resources. Where are the extra resources? They are in the banks, they are in the monopoly industries, and they are in the mining sector. That’s where extra resources must come from – to put into the purse of the State and the State to dish out for development purposes of this country. Proper schools, proper hospitals, proper roads, proper houses, proper anything that is in the interest of the people.
BRLP: Are you saying pretty much the same thing for banks then?
Malema: We need a greater State control and involvement in any sector that has got huge influence in the economy. The State – for instance – there is this problem with gold, particularly here in Gauteng. You have to dig deep down in order to access such things. You don’t need such a risk as a State, because digging, going down mines is costly. The State must have the capacity to identify profitable mines and venture into those – profitable amongst others means the ability to get the raw material quicker than using human resources, digging, going down, which becomes costly. Those workers are going to be paid properly because the State is not driven by profit – it’s driven by bettering the lives of our people.
BRLP: I don’t know – if you look at Eskom – huge profit.
Malema: It’s not the mandate of Eskom to make profit. I’ve always argued when people complain that Eskom is not making profit, I ask but what is its core mandate? It’s wrong – and how do they make this profit – by increasing the electricity and when they increase the electricity the poor can’t afford it. Of course they have a jet that they’re trying to service and all that but for me, Eskom should run itself – it should just make money to sustain its operation and take care of whatever it needs to take care of without declaring huge profits – that’s not its mandate.
BRLP: There’s no doubt that we mustn’t just follow a free market or capitalist model, but then are you pushing for something in the middle, a blend between socialistic and free market, or are you pushing for a socialistic state?
Malema: I’m not pushing for a socialistic state, I’m pushing for our people to get bread on the table and if you call that socialistic then its fine with me – I have no problem with what you call it. But anything that will result in our people being able to buy school uniforms for their children is what I want. I am not here calling for a socialist agenda – that’s why I am not calling for wholesale nationalization to the exclusion of the private sector. The private sector still plays a major role in the whole thing, but with the State being a leading partner.
BRLP: What place in society do you see for minority voices – whites, coloured etc? Now I am sitting in front of you today as a white Afrikaans speaking male. But I am a white South African who has friends leaving this country, thinking there’s no future. I’m staying here to be part of the solution. So when I hear Julius Malema stand up and say we must take back the land for our people or we must put money back for our people, a lot of those statements, I get the strong feeling I am not included, but excluded. And that creates a lot of alienation. Not everybody has the opportunity to sit with you here like I am, but the guys out there, South Africans out there, they feel excluded, they feel that race relations are going backwards rather than forward.
Malema: No no no no no….the white minorities, not even coloureds and Indians, I do not even begin to hear those fears amongst them – they’re just scared of nothing. If we wanted to do anything to them we would have done it in 1994. We had all the reasons, but look, we are not anti-whites, but we can’t ignore what happened historically and they need to come to terms with that. The sooner they appreciate that they have caused us so much pain, the better. They need to know that. They must never behave like nothing happened. That’s the problem, they want to behave like nothing happened, and they want to say to people, put everything behind – we can’t, we can’t. Never ever try to push us to put everything behind because you’re going to force us to pretend to you and once we are pretentious the anger in us is going to boil. And then it will explode.
BRLP: So how do we confront that? How do we really clear up the race issues?
Malema: They must open up, this is their country, they too should feel comfortable and never feel attacked when we speak about redressing the imbalances of the past. They must open up and one of the ways of opening up is to accept that Apartheid has caused us this trouble we find ourselves in now. Then they need to ask themselves a question – how do I contribute? I’ve got a land here, some of which I’m no longer using, I’ve just dumped my workers there to look after them. Why can’t I come up and say guys, I’ve got 4000 hectares – as part of my contribution I give the State 3000, I remain with 1000. It’s my contribution towards land redistribution. In this country I’ve got so much, I want to contribute to the State. And the State will then decide how to utilize that land. If its agricultural land it will have to go and look for competent people who have got what it takes to utilize the land because we must also be worried about the food security. We are not just going to take land, tomorrow there’s no production. The mistake we did with the State buying of land and giving people without mentorship – we don’t need that. We need to get a land, give it to people, but employ somebody, even if it’s the Afrikaner, and employ him to supervise the production there. He must be on the payroll of the State, he must know that he’s paid to do that and as he’s mentoring them he must ensure he gets others under his wing to learn how he does these things, so that when he leaves tomorrow they are able to take over and continue the production. But the point is, you have nothing, as an ordinary white person, and Julius takes a platform and says “The white man has stolen from us, they have got all the economy and the money, and we want it back”. Why should you be worried, you have nothing, you have not stolen from anybody, you just have your house, you don’t have anybody’s land, you don’t have all the monies, they’re not talking about you. It’s like when you stand up and say there are lot of black criminals here, I’m not worried about that because it’s not me, I’m also worried about these black thugs who must be dealt with, those thugs I can help you hunt them. So why are you worried, you know you’ve got nothing to worry about? We are not talking to you, we are speaking to Rupert, we are speaking to the Oppenheimers, we are speaking to all those who own the means of production. White working class belongs to our struggle. They must come and join us to fight for equal distribution of wealth in this country, and when we say equal distribution of wealth we don’t refer only to blacks – we refer to the white working class who have got nothing. They can’t be celebrating rich people.
BRLP: I hear what you’re saying. Pres Zuma spoke about sectional leadership where a leader just speaks to a certain section and does not appeal to the rest. What I hear you say now can potentially convince the ordinary guy on the street to enroll in the cause if he heard it that way. But you don’t say it that way?
Malema: I’ve always said it; I’ve said no white person is going to be driven to the river here. Not by us. That would be to the disappointment of Nelson Mandela. We would be undoing his work. But we need to be honest about what we want. And the media does not help. Those who own the media are those who own the means of production. They control the media. So you want to take from them. You say you want to take from them – they realize oh OK, that’s what he is trying to do. They use everything else they have to prevent you from taking from them, what else do they have, they have the media. Make everyone in South Africa to turn against the media; they then use the media to discredit our achievement, the struggle. But we are not worried about that because we know who owns the media and we know what the agenda of the media is and we ought to respect their space as well – the truth will come out. It is the same media that is calling Nelson Mandela a hero today, which called him a terrorist, a murderer, so why should we be worried about them. If Madiba listened to them – even then they were controlled by those who controlled the regime at the time to discredit Madiba – but Madiba never worried about them because he had a vision and he didn’t allow anything to sidetrack him, he focused on his vision, until later they appreciated that he had a point. Then they had to swallow their pride and call him a hero. Others will get persuaded in the process – that’s why we never get tired of talking to the media, we never get tired of conducting interviews even in the most hostile radio and TV stations because we need to win everybody. Everybody needs to appreciate that actually I belong here. Joe Slovo joined the struggle for freedom but he was not oppressed. We kept on saying we want black power, we want black government. He didn’t feel isolated because he knew with the liberation of blacks then I am also free because I can go anywhere and associate with whoever I want to. In this country I’m not free until those blacks are free. And that’s how white South Africans should understand – the reasons they build high walls is because they’re scared of those who don’t have. The day everybody has bread on the table is the day we’re going to demolish those walls.
BRLP: A lot of this is based on a certain level of acceptance of what really happened in the past – white people particularly. So that farmer needs to realize or make some sort of breakthrough in his own mind and change his attitude and then maybe give some of what he has. It’s a big step – it feels very far away attitudinally – I’m not saying policy wise, that could change, but attitudinally for someone to get to that point. Also, for example a Laurie Dippenaar, a Paul Harris, these are the guys from Stellenbosch, to stand up and say I’m giving a billion as a token to show we still need to redress – it’s asking a lot.
Malema: It’s not asking a lot. Out of billions you’re giving 1 billion; it’s not asking a lot. It’s also clearing your own conscience. The things they tell you they’ve done – me and you do them, I take students to school, I have nothing, but the little cents I have, I take one or two kids to school. But they want to talk like me, a person who doesn’t have billions, to say I take kids to school and they say, Yaaw you can’t do that, not even a government like Zimbabwe has got billions – you’re an individual who has billions, you can do a lot with it. And you don’t involve the State, if you don’t trust that your money will be put to the cause, and then do it yourself. Call a press conference, announce that as part of a contribution this is what I am going to do and I’m calling upon fellow white South Africans to make this contribution. Who’s going to say what? Nobody. We are going to celebrate that and you are actually going to break these hostilities – one of us is actually appreciating that there is a contribution to be made. But why are they not doing that – because in the majority they are still holding on to the past – thinking they are superior, must remain superior and what makes me superior? It’s the big land, big money, and they must all come work for me. It can’t be. It can’t be. Let’s all make a contribution. You know, many do appreciate our fellow white South Africans. In other countries when you have killed their brothers and sisters, that’s the day you stop existing in their minds. If they can get an opportunity for revenge they go for it. But those of us who saw our brothers dying, who saw blood, went before TRC and said forgive this one. Then let’s ask the question – what did they do to show us they are partners in this reconciliation? We said we are forgiving them, we are one country, let’s live together, and let’s change. No, you are the ones who must apologize to us for having killed you. Despite everything being done, despite everything President Mandela has tried to do they keep on showing us a middle finger and want to blame us when we respond. It can’t be. It can’t be. We have done everything. Everything we could. For 20 years by the way – we are going for 20 years now. 20 years with all those expectations we had under Pres Mandela where we didn’t achieve them, we are still patiently waiting that one day things will be fine. But for sure you know what happened in Africa 20 years after democratic breakthroughs – people gave up and said, no, this is too much now, enough is enough, and they started chasing those who are seen to be perpetuating oppression.
BRLP: Someone sent this to me – In the classic book “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, he describes how the replacement of one dispensation or regime by a new regime based on seemingly sound values and a noble philosophy resulted in an even worse dispensation or regime driven by greed, self-interest, and a self-enrichment agenda by a handful of corrupt leaders who lead the masses with political rhetoric and false promises. Why would it be any different in South Africa given the fact that corruption and self-enrichment of leaders, especially in the political arena, has already become the order of the day?
Malema: Look, I don’t agree with that particularly in South Africa. We are different. We still have respect for rule of law and where corruption raises its ugly head action is taken. We have seen ministers losing their jobs, senior government officials losing jobs, because our government is very decisive on corruption. The reason why today we hear a lot of corrupt activities is again because of this democratic government which is very transparent and where the corrupt activities are brought forward and people know about them and they are being dealt with. Of course, there is still a lot to be done but some of those isolated cases of corruption and how they’ve been dealt with makes all of us to have comfort that there is some level of determination to deal with corruption. Most influential people who we thought were untouchable have been dealt with once they were found to be involved in corrupt activities.
BRLP: What most people out there attack or query is your own wealth, as someone that fights for the poor and downtrodden, yet you have so much, and the suspicion is that you could only have acquired it illegally? What is your response to such arguments and views?
Malema: Joe Slovo was not a Black person but he fought against black people’s oppression by white domination. I’m not rich but credit wealthy cause of my previous occupations. I never stole anything from anybody and neither was I once found guilty of illegal activities by a credible court of law. I’m a child of a domestic worker and I grew up in a poverty stricken family. I don’t read about poverty, I’ve lived a poverty life.
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